Going tubeless - Fenwick's v. Stan's sealant.

I've used Stan's for, well, since it came out really, back in the early days of horrid, thick rubber rim strips. Other than the odd splatter of latex when ripping out a sidewall, it's been a good product. But I've heard rumours that it destroys both tyres and rims - although all of mine have been fine! Anyway figured I'd try a competitor, and Fenwick's seemed a reasonable price, so why not?

Why not indeed! I'll tell you why. Because it is horrid, gets everywhere and refuses to seal properly for ages and ages - as in several weeks.

Firstly, it gets everywhere. It's blue and stains everything. It didn't seal properly first time around, so I decided to put another layer of rim strip onto the rim as a precaution. Taking the tyre off both myself and my workshop [aka kitchen] looked like some kind of Area 51 abattoir. There was blue splatter everywhere and I'd been pretty careful. Horrid stuff.

Secondly it is a thick goo and doesn't seal the tyre walls very well. I've used it on three tyres and you can see air leakage when washing the bike, even two weeks' later. I'm pumping tyres up all the time now. I'll report back after a few good rides as it may just need a bounce around.

Thirdly due to leakage it takes ages to get the tyres to seal in the first place. 9 hours for one particular tyre.... Imagine pumping a single tyre for nine sodding hours. Not best pleased. Wife suggested I take the bike down to my LBS. I suggested she sod off.

So today figured I'd try Stan's as a comparitor. Got a pint spare, popped a tyre on, filled with 100ml of Stan's, pumped tyre up to 40psi, watched it bubble out of a small cut in the tyre for three seconds, it then sealed completely, bike ready to go. Took all of two or three minutes to fit a tyre. Deep joy.

To get from a rim plus tyre to this took less than three minutes. One hour later the tyre has lost a bit of air, probably from the sidewalls, but then we all know a ride out will cure that. Needs a good bounce around, nothing more. When Stan's tubeless works it is awesome tech., but when it fails it fails totally. There's no inbetween ground really. At least you know where you stand with it.

Fenwick's v. Stan's? No contest at all. In terms of setting up here today, Stan's beats the shit out of it. Bit like Rocky v. a baby, or Schwarzenegger v. The Muscles from Brussells. Fenwick's is just a bit crap, sorry.

So, how do they fair when actually set up? What's the bike like to ride? Actually once set up there isn't any noticeable difference in performance, as you'd expect really. I've not had any punctures to report, not that I'd know of any in the first place; that's the whole point of tubeless isn't it! Once properly set up both products do their job.

But for me the pain of setting up the Fenwick's means it loses out here. It's just too messy, too demanding. There's also the slight worry that the thickness of it means it'll not cope with a puncture, but as said it seems fine in use. It's supposed to fix bigger holes than Stan's, so may yet prove its' worth on our flinty rocks.